MCN Gurus o’ Gold: Pre-Fall-Fest Edition

The Gurus are putting their turbans back before the festival madness from Venice to Telluride to Toronto (and eventually, New York) begins. We welcome back returning Guru Mark Harris, who is not Linc-ed to any film this season. And for the first time, longtime blogger Nathaniel R joins the fold. And for those of you looking for Susan Wloszczyna at USA Today, you should click over to read her at these days.

We asked The Gurus to offer their top 15 picks with no order at this time. It’s a bit early to be making placements with so many of the films unseen. One Guru decided to pick only from movies they had already seen. Others expressed trepidation about putting their names to any picks this early in the season. But they all meditated on giving you a good idea of what the field looks like today. The result is 33 titles deep with a Top 10 (based on # of votes) that is 12 deep itself.


Rank Last Chart Pre-Fall-Festival Best Picture Field BreznicanEllwoodHammondHarrisHowellKargerOlsenPolandPondNathanielRStoneTapleyThompsonWhippWloszczyna Votes Total
t1 12 Years a Slave
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 14 14
t1 American Hustle
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 14 14
t1 Lee Daniels' The Butler
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 14 14
t4 August: Osage County
* * * * * * * * * * * * * 13 13
t4 Captain Phillips
* * * * * * * * * * * * * 13 13
t4 Wolf of Wall Street
* * * * * * * * * * * * * 13 13
t4 Saving Mr. Banks
* * * * * * * * * * * * * 13 13
t4 Inside Llewyn Davis
* * * * * * * * * * * * * 13 13
9 Gravity
* * * * * * * * * * * * 12 12
t10 Monuments Men
* * * * * * * * * * * 11 11
t10 Nebraska
* * * * * * * * * * 10 10
t10 Fruitvale Station
* * * * * * * * * * 10 10
Labor Day
* * * * * * * * 8 8
* * * * * * * * 8 8
All Is Lost
* * * * * * 6 6
* * * * * * 6 6
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
* * * * * * 6 6
Blue Jasmine
* * * * * * 6 6
Before MIdnight
* * * * * 5 5
The Fifth Estate
* * * * * 5 5
* * * * 4 4
Lone Survivor
* * * * 4 4
Dallas Buyers Club
* * * 3 3
Stories We Tell
* * 2 2
Blue Is The Warmest Color
* * 2 2
Frances Ha
* * 2 2
* * 2 1
One Vote Wonders
The Spectacular Now
* 1 1
The Hunt
* 1 1
The Counselor
* 1 1
The Book Thief
* 1 1
Much Ado About Nothing
* 1 1
Mandela: Walk To Freedom
* 1 1
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18 Responses to “MCN Gurus o’ Gold: Pre-Fall-Fest Edition”

  1. Oh Dear says:

    Clearly, Glenn Whipp is clueless and should not be a “guru”.

  2. Oh Dear says:

    Also, only a third of the gurus putting Before Midnight in their TOP 15, is utterly insane.

  3. ma says:

    what about third person?

  4. pj says:

    12 years and the butler leading the pack? what the what!?And how can you be a guru and NOT vote for American Hustle? LMFAO

  5. Glenn Whipp says:

    You may be right, Dear. It’s a personal thing, but I won’t vote for movies that haven’t yet screened, even if, on paper, they seem like strong candidates. Check back in a few weeks when I’ve seen the movies in question.

  6. Bette Streep says:

    LOL – someone is predicting lesbian drama Blue is the Warmest Colour for Best Picture.

    Obviously the poor guy has forgotten what happened to the less explicit Brokeback Mountain.

    I predict Blue…. will get ZERO nominations at the Oscars…. just like another controversial film ‘4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days’ got.

  7. Mark Johnson says:

    Nobody knows anything at the moment. Even though I have American Hustle as the frontrunner, it doesn’t mean Glenn isn’t a guru for not having it in his predictions. Remember Nine? J. Edgar? etc. etc. etc.

    That being said, I don’t subscribe to the idea of not predicting something that hasn’t been seen. I think that is the entire point of making predictions at this stage of the game. And half the fun. But to each their own, as always. Looking forward to seeing how this season unfolds!

  8. Sam says:

    “Obviously the poor guy has forgotten what happened to the less explicit Brokeback Mountain.”

    You mean that it got 8 Oscar nominations including Picture and won 3 including Director?

    This ballot is about films that might be nominated. Brokeback Mountain did get nominated and therefore makes his case better than it does yours.

    (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Blue will be nominated either, but Brokeback mountain is evidence why it might, not why it might not.)

  9. Sam says:

    “Also, only a third of the gurus putting Before Midnight in their TOP 15, is utterly insane.”

    It’s the third movie in a series that has racked up a grand total of zero Best Picture nominations. What makes you think it’ll be nominated this time? Even if it does get nominated, it’s by no means an obvious pick. I’m surprised that as many as one third of the Gurus want to go out on that limb.

    Remember, this isn’t about quality, it’s about nomination likelihood.

  10. Jerry says:

    Well at least I now have a movie to root against on Oscar night, The Butler. A sappy heavy handed movie that much of Hollywood will love. I need to really root for Lee to get a director’s nomination so the film doesn’t pull off a Ben on Oscar night.

  11. Michael says:

    @Oh Dear and PJ…if you read the top part, you would understand that Whipp is the critic only picking films that he/she has seen.

  12. Jordan says:

    Among all the best pics nomination prediction, the strong contenders would probably be American Hustle (Jennifer Lawrence, Christian bale, Amy Adams, Bradley cooper, Jeremy renner), lee daniel’s the butler (forest whitaker, oprah, jane fonda, etc), August Osage county (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts), inside Llewyn Davis (grand prix winner at Cannes), the monuments men (George clooney good track record, hard to beat that one)! All purely based on great acting ensembles in a motion picture. I think the one that stands the chance to win best pic is American Hustle by David o’russell. I correctly predicted Crash over brokeback that year. I always predicted the correct best picture so I’m confident to stand by my pick.

    I would put blue jasmine along with 12 years a slave, captain Phillips, gravity, saving mr. Banks further down. Likely getting snubbed is foxcatcher, the fifth estate, fruitvale (oh no!), wolf of Wall Street and Nebraska.

  13. Jordan says:

    Never count out blue is the warmest color. So many buzz n lots of academy members were kinda pissed that this movie is not eligible for best foreign film, so I guess that would help out to score some serious attention for nominations. I mean Palme d’or de Cannes is some serious shit! Steven Spielberg picked it, wat more can u argue?

  14. redgarlic says:

    But… Can Blue be nommed? I thought that it schedule took it out of the competition, since it premieres in october in France, after AMPA’s cutoff date for foreign films.

  15. movielocke says:

    for a film to be eligible for non-foreign film categories it has to be released in LA for a week in a paying theatre between Jan 1 and Dec 31.

    Eligibility for all categories but foreign film has nothing at all to do with it’s release date in its home country.

    I like Glenn Whipp’s picks best of this lot, because it has an actual basis in reality. If more critics weren’t so prejudiced against early release dates in their obsessive and silly striving to be Nostradamus (first!) we’d probably have an electorate of awards groups that would remember and award more films with early release dates. But the segregations imposed by the chattering castes are pretty insurmountable in the the awards sport.

    That preceding paragraph is a bit tough on the awards sports writers, the blame should probably lie at the feet of the publicists. the writers are mostly slave to what the publicists want them to write, and writing about films the publicists/studios have not positioned in the ‘invisible primary’ of release date positioning is pretty risky, because your access could be cut off. And if you’re an awards sports writer and you don’t have a publicist telling you what to write, then you’d be lost and not know which movies are the hot awards prospect. 😉

  16. Jerry says:

    It will be interesting if Toronto causes any large movement in the rankings like SLP’s move from 12th to 2nd last year. Wish they only allowed 10 votes instead of 15 since 15 allows the composite list to be highly accurate.

  17. david says:

    No love for “short term 12” for best picture nom? Its reviews from critics are fantastic and brie Larson petformance she’s considered an oscar contender

  18. Matt says:

    Toronto’s going to drastically change this list, but so far it’s 12 Years a Slave or Gravity FTW. Gravity’s going to dominate technical, and 12 Years will ride artistic categories (art direction, costume, etc). And goodbye Butler. That movie was dead in the water the second Lee Daniels’ name moved to the title.